Clarke Historical Library
Central Michigan University

Finding aid for
Francis Hodgman Papers

Finding aid created by
Marian Matyn

Summary Information
Title: Francis Hodgman Papers
Creator: Hodgman, F. (Francis), b. 1839.
Inclusive dates: 1858, 1899, and Undated
Extent: .25 cubic foot (in 1 box, 1 Oversized folder)
Papers include family correspondence, newspaper clippings (copies), stereographs, and certificates of appointment.

Call number: MSS.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University
250 East Preston Street
Mount Pleasant, MI 48859
Phone: 989-774-3352
Fax: 989-774-2160

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

Acc# 1994-1995, 1726, 2732

Access Restrictions:

Francis Hodgman Papers are open for research.


Copyright is unknown.

Preferred Citation:

Francis Hodgman Papers, Folder # , Box #, Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University


Arrangement is by size, alphabetical, and then chronological.



Francis “Frank” Hodgman was born on November 18, 1839, the son of Moses and Frances Bellows Hodgman in Climax, Michigan.

Moses was a shoemaker and his wife taught school. They were married in 1830 in New Hampshire and moved to Climax, Michigan, in 1836. Moses built a store with a public hall. In 1848 he was elected postmaster, a position he held for ten years. Moses held the position again, 1862-1866.

Meanwhile, Frank attended local schools and then Mich. Agriculture College, now Michigan State University. He paid his way by working on the college’s farm and teaching school in winter. He earned a B. S. (1862) and a M.A. (1865).

After college Frank worked for a year in a drug and jewelry store in Littleton, New Hampshire. He then studied photography, opening a studio in Galesburg, Michigan, which he operated for three years. Besides photographing in Climax, Frank also painted local scenes.

In 1868, Frank became surveyor of Kalamazoo County, a position he held for 25 years.

He also published a book of poems, wrote music which was performed and led the cornet bands of Climax and Leroy, Michigan. His best poems were published in Songs by the Wondering Singer. In 1871-1872 Frank and his brother Samuel C. Hodgman located the work of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad through Colorado and Utah.

Frank was one of the founders of the Mich. Engineering Society. He served as secretary for 20 years and was president when he died. Also, Francis was one of the first village presidents of Climax. He also led choruses, singing schools and bands.

By 1881 Frank had married. On November 20, 1907, Francis died. His textbook on land surveying was still used by colleges in 1957. (This information is from the collection.)

Collection Scope and Content Note

The collection includes family correspondence, newspaper clippings (copies), stereographs, and certificates of appointment as Notaries Public for Frank and Moses. The 1881 correspondence describes Frank and Samuel’s experiences surveying in Colorado and Utah, the physical description of states and Mormons.

One oversized Certificate, appointing Moses as postmaster of Climax Prairie, Michigan, 1850, which was recorded as being purchased with the collection is now missing.

Subject Terms

    • Hodgman, F. (Francis), b. 1839.
    • Hodgman, Moses.
    • Hodgman family.
    • Denver and Rio Grande Railroad Company.
    • Notaries--United States.
    • Surveyors--Michigan--Kalamazoo County.
    • Railroads--History--Colorado.
    • Railroads--History--Utah.
    • Mormons--History--19th century--Utah.
    • Climax (Mich.)--Genealogy.
    • Climax (Mich.)--History.
    • Kalamazoo County (Mich.)--Genealogy.
    • Kalamazoo County (Mich.)--History.
    • Utah--Description and travel.
    • Colorado--Description and travel.
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
    Francis Hodgman Papers. [series]:
    Box   1 F   1
    Family Correspondence (and transcripts), 1858, 1860, 1880-1881
    Box   1 F   2
    Family Correspondence (and transcripts), 1882, 1885, 1887, 1893
    Box   1 F   3
    Newspaper clippings (copies), undated (circa 1957?)
    Box   1 F   4
    Stereographs of Family, 1892-1899
    F   1  
    Oversized Certificates (in 1 Oversized folder): Certificates of Appointment as Notaries Public for Kalamazoo County, Michigan, Francis Hodgman, March 27, 1867; Moses Hodgman, February 18, 1869, January 12, 1877, 1867, 1869, 1877